Arlington remembers Daily Herald sports writer Mike Spellman

  • Family and friends of the late Daily Herald sports writer Mike Spellman following the Mike Spellman Memorial Handicap at Arlington International Racecourse in August 2015. Also on hand were former Blackhawks goalie Tony Esposito, then coach Joel Quenneville, and jockey Luis Quinonez.

      Family and friends of the late Daily Herald sports writer Mike Spellman following the Mike Spellman Memorial Handicap at Arlington International Racecourse in August 2015. Also on hand were former Blackhawks goalie Tony Esposito, then coach Joel Quenneville, and jockey Luis Quinonez. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Mike Spellman, the late Daily Herald sports writer, died in 2015.

      Mike Spellman, the late Daily Herald sports writer, died in 2015. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 2/27/2021 6:02 PM

Arlington International Racecourse paid a wonderful tribute to former Daily Herald colleague Mike Spellman, who died of a heart attack six years ago at age 51.

Just months after his passing, the track announced it would run the Mike Spellman Memorial Handicap in his honor.

 

Former Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville and Daily Herald columnist Barry Rozner were among those in the winner's circle after the inaugural running on Aug. 9, 2015.

Spellman, a 1982 St. Viator graduate, lived near the track for more than two decades. He was on his first season as the Blackhawks beat reporter when he died.

"Mike had a lot of respect for the people that own horses and train horses, the jockeys," brother Neal Spellman said. "It's a tough business."

Spellman had the unique gift of instantly brightening the days of friends and co-workers by simply walking into the room. His sense of humor and ability to listen were traits that endeared him to so many across so many walks of life.

"Mike was a great friend and someone you could talk to in confidence," Arlington general manager Tony Petrillo told the Daily Herald's Katlyn Smith. "We wanted to do something, make sure his spirit stays with us all."

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